Orange County officials today confirmed seven cases of measles this year, a substantial increase from the zero to one cases seen on average annually.
"We expect to see additional measles cases in Orange County, increasing the likelihood that you and your family may be exposed to the disease," said Dr. Eric Handler, the county's Public Health Officer. "These new measles cases underscore the importance of making sure that you and your families are up to date with the (measles) vaccination.
The most recent locations and times of potential exposure are:
St. Joseph Heritage Healthcare Medical Office, 4300 Rose Drive, Suite D, Yorba Linda, 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., March 3, 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m., March 7
Panda Express, 27602 Antonio Parkway, Suite G3, Ladera Ranch, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., March 4
Friends Christian Elementary School, 5151 Lakeview Ave., Yorba Linda, 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., March 5
Robinson Ranch School, 21400 Lindsay Drive, Trabuco Canyon, 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., March 6
Placentia Linda Hospital emergency room, 1301 N. Rose, Yorba Linda, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday
Kids Doc, 27800 Medical Center Road, Mission Viejo, 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., Sunday
Mission Hospital emergency room, 27700 Medical Center Road, Mission Viejo, 9:50 a.m. to 3:45 p.m., Sunday, and 11:25 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Monday
Mission Hospital CHOC Pediatric Medical Surgical Department, 27700 Medical Center Road, Mission Viejo, 11:25 a.m. Monday to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.
The disease is extremely contagious and can be spread through the air.
The rash of measles is rare because the county usually only sees about one or no cases annually, Nicole Stanfield of the Health Care Agency said.
Symptoms usually start 10 to 12 days after exposure, but sometimes up to three weeks, with a fever as high as 105 degrees, malaise, cough, runny nose and conjunctivitis, or pink eye. Two to four days later, a rash develops, usually around the ears and hairline, that can spread to the face and arms and legs.
Last month, Dr. Matt Zahn, the agency's medical director for epidemiology, said "multiple cases that have been identified in California have occurred after international travel. This has been an issue for years."
Measles is unusual in the U.S., so most people contract it in another country, Zahn said. In Orange County, those recently afflicted have traveled to and from the Philippines, Zahn said.
Unfounded skepticism of vaccinating children is also an issue, Zahn said.
"Parents are inundated with information questioning the value of vaccines," Zahn said, adding those claims are baseless.
The vaccine for measles works about 99 percent of the time, Zahn said.
--City News Service